New Zealand education system consistently high performing
In the wake of class size increases versus quality of education debates, the New Zealand Teachers Council has come out in defence of the local education system.
Council director Dr Peter Lind says the OECD Report 2012 confirms that the New Zealand education system is one of the best in the world.
This view is confirmed by New Zealand’s rankings on The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is a worldwide study by the OECD of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading.
New Zealand consistently scores in the top half dozen OECD countries. In the latest survey, New Zealand students were ranked fourth in reading literacy, fourth in scientific literacy and seventh in mathematical literacy.
“It is not easy to maintain these rankings and New Zealand has consistently maintained its overall ranking on these measures since they were first introduced in 2000,” said Dr Lind.
New Zealand’s achievement is made all the more clear when compared to other OECD country results. Australia has recorded a significant decline since 2000 on all the skills measured. Since 2000, England has slipped from seventh to 25th in reading, eighth to 28th in maths and fourth to 16th in science. The United States only rates around the average of all OECD countries.
“This reflects very favourably on the quality of New Zealand teachers,” says Dr Lind.
However, it is also true that the latest PISA survey still shows a wide dispersion of scores among New Zealand students.
“Lifting the performance of those New Zealand students that are underachieving must be a priority for our education system, but without allowing the slippage in our overall rankings as has recently occurred in Australia.
“To achieve this requires a strong commitment from the teaching profession and the Government in partnership. There are no silver bullets and a focus on a single variable will not achieve the goal intended. It will require dialogue and detailed consideration of any initiatives proposed,” said Dr Lind.
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